Summary: Exposition of Acts 13:4-12 about the spiritual warfare that surrounds believers and unbelievers in the battle for the soul of Sergius Paulus
Text: Acts 13:4-12, Title: The Battle for Souls, Date/Place: NRBC, 4/27/08, AM
A. Opening illustration: Talk about Satanic Saturday Nights
B. Background to passage: the church at Antioch has just released Paul and Barnabas at the direction of the Holy Spirit after a powerful worship service in which God moved. And the account before us today is the account of their first ministry experiences in Cyprus. Now, Acts 11:19 indicates some evangelistic activity on the island prior to their arrival. But this was Barnabas’ hometown, so it was a logical place to start their ministry. But as with any sort of obedience and moving of the Spirit, resistance and spiritual warfare would be present.
C. Main thought: In the text we will see the four (of the five, gawkers being the fifth) parts in a battle for the souls of men in the Kingdom.
A. The Supernaturals (v. 4, 10)
1. The Holy Spirit is the one who “thrust out” these missionaries from Antioch. He is concerned about the mission of God in the world to spread the fame of His Name through the gospel. He is always involved in the spreading of the gospel home and abroad. His duties include sending missionaries, empowering the gospel message proclamation, conviction of the heart, opening the eyes, speaking to the heart, and actually being born again. But there is also another. His name is mentioned because his children are present in this account. But don’t read more into it than is already there. Remember your demonology. We do not serve a good God with a bad equal in Satan. But even though he is a lackey to Christ, Satan does play a role in deception and hindering the gospel in the minds of unbelievers.
2. Luk 12:11-12, John 15:26, 16:8, 2 Cor 4:4-6,
3. Illustration: The New York Times reported a study about the diminishing belief in the devil among Americans. Two-thirds of Americans do not believe in the devil as a living entity. In a randomly selected survey of over 1,000 Americans, pollsters asked whether they agreed that Satan is “not a living being, but a symbol of evil.” Sixty-two percent agreed with the statement--nearly 149 million Americans, A woman bought a extravagant dress, and the husband asked why did it have to be so extravagant, She said the devil made me buy it, The husband asked, why didn’t you say get behind me Satan?, The woman said, I did and said it looked as good in the front as it did in the back, so I bought it, video at UT about evangelicals…
4. The Spirit uses different methods and means to kick us out of our comfort zones. And most of them are not pleasant to us, but our comfort is not His primary goal. The Spirit will not only send you out, but will empower you, give you words to say, and minister to the unbeliever as you witness. And usually He will start you close to home. And success in witnessing is being faithful, for conversion is also the Spirit’s job. This is all the more reason to witness and share—you can’t fail, unless you forsake. If you are witnessing to others, don’t get frustrated when they don’t get it. Satan has blinded them. Pray that God will remove the scales as you are faithful to share. If you are hear today, and you are not born again, you are being deceived by Satan. There are only two sides with Jesus. And Satan has you right where he wants you, comfortable in your false religion, and not willing to sell out, take up the cross, and follow Jesus.
B. The Prophets (v. 5, 9)
1. These three men “preached” the gospel to the Jews in the synagogues. The gospel is to the Jew first and also to the Gentiles. The word used is a different word that means to proclaim loudly. They were telling the story with boldness under the influence of the Spirit of God. They preached the life, death, resurrection of Jesus, as well as an appeal to repent and believe.
2. Mar 7:27, Rom 1:16, Eph 5:18-21, Col 3:16,
3. Illustration: tell about my experience with Witnessing Without Fear, Bill Bright in college,
4. There are a lot of things called evangelism that are not really evangelism. But we are all called to be sharing with those around us. We may not all be preachers, or evangelists, or missionaries, (although my earnest weekly prayer is that God calls forth a myriad of you from our church to do give your lives to vocational ministry, pray that!), but we are all commissioned to be about the business of sharing our faith with others around us. And if you will stay in the Word, in prayer, and renew your mind daily, the Spirit of God will fill you to serve the Kingdom in this fashion. And we are all commanded to be filled with the Spirit. And the norm for that in the NT is evangelistic encounters. And we must be reliant on the Spirit as we witness, for we ourselves cannot open the eyes of the blind. MacArthur’s comment about not sleeping.